Civilians, militaries, former militaries but also active members of the community, i.e. city mayors, village heads, local journalists, activists and human rights defenders have been targets for Russian abductions, Tetiana Pechonchyk, the head of the "Zmina" Human Rights Center told TVP World.
As Ms Pechonchyk put it, there were “at least 163 cases of abduction in eight regions of Ukraine”, albeit “the truth is that we don’t know how many people were deported from Ukraine. According to the latest data from the UNHCR, there are 650,000 Ukrainian refugees in Russia. According to Russians themselves, there are 1,000,000 Ukrainian refugees on the territory of Russia including 183,000 thousand children.”
On Friday Ms Pechonchyk presented during a conference in Warsaw a report outlining the 163 cases of abductions. Taking place in a total of eight regions, including the newly liberated ones, that is, the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, the abductions are a reaction to stark resilience on the part of the Ukrainian community to the Russian invasion.
But it is not just kidnapping. “In many instances, people are tortured, some until death” in a bid to curtail the Ukrainians’ resilience, Ms Pechonchyk said.
Almost half of the abductions are perpetrated against representatives of local governments. By doing so the Russian invaders want to scare them into cooperation.